These lovely poems grew out of the Hewnoaks Poetry Workshop in July, 2015.
We gathered on a perfect morning in the screen house of Hewnoaks Artist Colony, and read a number of poems by various known poets, in a wide range of styles. These poems revealed how a writer may focus on an aspect of nature that reflects human feelings and relationships. Then, we each walked around Hewnoaks, choosing a site to observe, reflect, sketch, draft notes for a poem, and some lines, before coming back together to hear and support each others’ ideas.
Thank you to all participants for being willing to share the beautiful and moving work.
POEMS BY PARTICIPANTS OF THE HEWNOAKS POETRY WORKSHOP
JULY 2015, with JUDITH STEINBERGH
by Ed Parsons
Sitting on the shore of Kezar Lake at Hewnoaks,
Endless whitecaps pushed by a silky westerly wind.
Familiar mountains on the horizon--
West Royce, Speckled, Mount Caribou;
The long ridge from Speckled Mountain descending west to east over Butters Mountain
And Red Rock and the sharp little peak above Miles Notch.
I am so used to pointing out and naming peaks to hiker friends.
But I know that is not what they are.
I want to forget the names entirely.
I want to forget my name and yours.
It's time to let go and fall into the deep well of our true nature.
It's time to "take a stand in awareness," as our Zen teacher says.
A herring gull flies up from the lake and stitches the distant green ridge with its white wings.
A Sunfish skims by, three people crouched under its tight sail.
All is simply awareness.
That's all there will ever be, or was.
To gently admit it is to love this world.
Time at Hewnoaks
by Susan Welchman
How long it took for these trees to tower
For mountains to rise and surround the lake
The birds to return their song to the woods
Bees to promise the blackberries their fruit
While in our short stay we struggle
To make our lives visible
As the wind goes through on its way to somewhere else
by Ardelle Foss
She had two and warmed them, with her mate, to hatch.
Yet one did not, left behind to explode in shock and stench.
The other thrived and downy fledged, to costume white and black
and pigment red, abandoned when the lake turned cold and hard.
Yet it left at last to find its winter sustenance, and returned in spring
to seek and awe and nurture into regal age.
Another she had two and warmed them, with her mate, to hatchlings.
A week's life for one--a blink; long grieved. Yet it was a week, and the other thrived.
I too had two and warmed them into life. Three decades for one--still grieving.
Yet my other lives, in black designs and flashing red, to resurrect his brother.
by Yasmin Azel
When the Glacier left
it said its goodbye slowly
like it was walking backwards
as if to avoid the decision
of taking one last look
It was never sure it wanted to leave
the lakes pulled on its
icy blue heart strings
Stay with me
You make me deep, they willed
holding on with ropes of river
and strings of brook
then threads of stream
It regretted how it was leaving the land
scraped over raw and rough
the grey granite no longer slept
under a sanctuary of pure quiet white
It wept boulders of a leaving grief
When the glacier left
the Land shrugged its mountains
it pushed them taller
as if to say I have more space now
It began the work of creating a new land
work that couldn't be done when being held
by those large hands of steely cold
it took stock of what was there,
Rock, Water, Sun
and it began
It first created a thin sheet to sleep under
an alpine garden of hearty little plants
to hold small stones in place
as an artist might do it added petals of pink
droplets of mist and dew
It rested under this new lighter layer of green
knowing one day it would become something of its own majesty.
Dear, dear Henry,
by Anna Römer
Thank you for loving my land into being,
your caring hands touched every rock in my stone walls,
fitting, moving and adjusting them till perfection.
I walk the fields around my house and
I see you, hear you, gently coaxing your oxen into helping you plow.
Thank you dear Henry, for planting the apple tree
that my children swing from and jump out off into the snow.
Thank you for not cutting down the 10 hemlock trees, deep in the woods,
now my private sanctuary.
Dear Henry, I will cherish these acres of lilies and lilacs
as much as you did.
Dear Henry, may our land always be loved.
Note from Dina Dubois: Fibonacci poetry is a literary form based on the Fibonacci number sequence. Fibonacci poems can embody the number sequence in two ways, either in numbers of syllables or in numbers of words.
The first poem below is the perspective of looking at the lake in the morning.
The next one is being the lake in the morning.
Lift your face
Where is the morning?
Grass, leaf, lake.
Wait until being.
All these days
Drenching the mountains
Me to shroud demons.
When we stumbled on the abandoned mine
it was far better than coming on silver or gold.
Mica, glittering like small mirrors
sewn into cloth from India or stacked
in thick decks protruding from the cliffs,
or strewn among the lumps of littered quartz,
iridescent as fish. We took as much
as we could carry down the mountain
and spread now on the kitchen table
is a vast treasure of shine. We sit
over coffee catching up with friends.
What new events have pressed our old
strata down. We peel layers away
absentmindedly. Imagine a rock that bends,
that slides away from itself, that's
transparent as glass. The mica
takes up half the table, but we
do not pack it away. It is one thing
changing into another: ﬂakes of moonlight
into scales upon the lake we have just left,
summer silver into the brittleness of fall.
This is a time of transition. We may
actually stabilize, become dull. But all
winter the mica will gleam, becoming,
possibly, the first snowfall.
from A Living Anytime, Talking Stone Press.